Ron Crotty, Still Up

Nearly four years ago, Rifftides reminded you of the bassist Ron Crotty, whose brief season of renown came in the early 1950s. Andrew Gilbert, a free lance writer and critic in the San Francisco Bay area, sought out Crotty recently and published an update in The Monthly, an East Bay magazine. Here’s an early paragraph from Andy’s article.

Crotty’s autumnal creative resurgence would be heartening in any context, reminding us that it’s never too late to make a mark, but his lion-in-winter renaissance feels particularly inspiring given his precocious rise and numerous stumbles. In 1949, before turning 20, he had already seized a piece of musical immortality as a founding member of the Dave Brubeck Trio, a group that also featured drummer Cal Tjader. (Tjader, who died on the road in 1982, earned fame several years after leaving Brubeck as a vibraphonist and pioneering Latin jazz bandleader).

To read all of the piece, click here.

For the April, 2009, Rifftides post on Crotty and associates, with video of a performance, go here.

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  1. Frank Roellinger says

    Thanks so much, Doug. I remember once reading a review of the early Dave Brubeck Quartet which referred to Ron Crotty as “brilliant”, and I think that word was/is appropriate for the way Ron played on those early recordings, both as accompanist and soloist. You can hum right along with his solos. I always loved the tone and the attack/projection that he had with that group.

    When I learned from your Desmond Biography that he was still playing ca. 2003, I began to think that a duo recording with Ron and Dave would be most appropriate and welcome. Maybe even a trio with Jim Hall. I don’t think either has happened, but it’s still a very pleasant thought.

  2. Andrew Gilbert says

    Thanks Doug! I wish I could have included a few of the many comments from fellow musicians who expressed esteem for Ron. BYW, the wonderful photo of him is by Lenny Gonzalez, a fantastic Bay Area photographer who specializes in capturing musicians:

  3. Terence Smith says

    Somebody ( maybe Doug Ramsey) needs to interview Ron Crotty about his memories of such as the Brubeck Trio, early Quartet, and I think also Octet dates and recordings. Like reader/commenter Bob Porter, I think that period of Brubeck is amazing, timeless, and so original and ever-fresh.

    Brubeck is quoted as saying the Trio recordings were spontaneous and non-rehearsed, but they came out so well and features were retained and reused. Some of my favorite early DBQ quartet things were seeming reductions of Octet arrangements, for example “Let’s Fall in Love”. It’d be interesting to hear Crotty talk about those times and unforgettable recordings.